Are you from Baltimore?
No. I grew up in Oxon Hill, Maryland in Prince George’s County, Maryland. I moved to Baltimore just before the age of 17 to attend The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. When I graduated in 1998, I went to law school in the midwest.
I was excited to move back to Baltimore in 2016, just to be a part of the city’s incredible energy. When we moved back to Baltimore, my husband and I initially lived in Mill No. 1 in Hampden. Then our family grew by one, right here in Baltimore. After a long search, we bought a house in Bolton Hill in 2017 and moved to Bolton Hill in 2018.
Are you involved in your Bolton Hill neighborhood?
Yes. I attend church just right in Bolton Hill. Since 2017, My family and I have been members at Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church. I’ve also participated, since 2018, in the best neighborhood book club ever. I help my elderly neighbors take out their trash or get groceries. When I’m not on the hook for getting my toddler fed or to sleep, I enjoy all our neighborhood social gatherings. And of course, as a working mom, I grocery shop in Bolton Hill, and patronize all local businesses.
In 2020, I’ve also helped our BHCA with the mural project on North Avenue and our Fall Festival. I volunteer to help out behind the scenes as much as I can.
Now that my daughter has turned three in February 2020, I’m excited to have greater freedom to be more places further away from home. The priority post-COVID-19 lockdown is to also get to know each of you at your neighborhood meetings.
How long have you lived in Baltimore?
Eight years total and four years in this most recent stint. I lived in Baltimore from 1994 to 1998, when attending college. While in college, I interned for one semester for then Baltimore City Councilmember Keiffer Mitchell. I enthusiastically returned to Baltimore in 2016 to start a family and plant roots.
What does your family do?
My husband is a journalist covering the economy, politics, and voters for a national news wire. He’s a union man—a member of the News Media Guild. Before the COVID-19 crisis, he commuted to DC each day via Penn Station. To maintain his independence and because he is unaffiliated with any political party, you won’t see his photo or name mentioned on this site. I can assure you, however, he is an incredible human being and worth one hundredfold his weight in gold as a husband and father. We’re also a proud interracial family.
My daughter is three years old! (Whew!) She was born at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She is bright and funny with a bold personality. Initially, she will claim to be shy when meeting folks. She is in pre-school. She makes my husband and I laugh and swell with pride every day.
Why are you running?
I am running for office to guarantee for others the same hope and opportunity that make my own story possible.
I am the granddaughter of coal miners from a tiny hollow in West Virginia. And I am the latch-key kid of a loving and hardworking single mom who always had at least two—sometimes three—jobs when I was growing up. I found refuge in books and church as a young girl. And I followed my faith and my books to a more secure and international life as a corporate lawyer.
But in 2005, I had emergency open heart surgery that changed my life. I determined then that if God blessed me to live, I would turn my volunteer work into a career so that I could help build up communities and uplift people in a more impactful way. I wanted to serve where I was from and in the places that helped me become who I am.
Since then, I have been blessed to do so much more than corporate law. I have been a public servant with a track record of results on the most pressing issues for vulnerable and working class folks—folks like my grandparents, my mom, my younger self and the foster children I used to serve. I have helped to create change in preK-12 education, police legitimacy, children and family services, and affordable housing.
That desire for and the calling to create change brought me back to Baltimore, where I had moved just before turning 17 in 1994. But what I see now is different from then. Today, I see that throughout all of Baltimore, and in District 40 especially, residents are shining with incredible vision and tenacity.
People are working hard to showcase Baltimore’s resilience and its aspirations for the future of our historic city. Residents are doing this work against all odds. And they need greater leadership support.
I am running for Delegate because I can help in ways that create huge, impactful change. My exposures outside of Baltimore and in it have prepared me in ways that no other candidate can claim.
And my love for folks like my family, children in foster care, and especially the families who’ve lost custody, have fixed my moral compass in a direction that can help heal our city.
We can all agree that the folks working selflessly to rebuild Baltimore need more allies who have great leadership capacity. We need more leaders who will listen as residents lead. We need more leaders who understand how markets work and who know from experience what makes deals come together and what makes them fall apart.
We need more leaders who will contribute thoughtfully on issues of public safety and police reform. And we need more leaders who embrace the idea that public safety must run hand-in-hand with urgent economic development for Baltimore.
We need what I’ll be on the District 40 team—a knowledgeable and effective ally, who will help bring resources to District 40, who will help businesses survive and thrive beyond the pandemic, and who can craft legislation to support the great and tough work that our residents are doing.
I have a track record of partnering to do all of the above. In four years—equivalent to one legislative term—I have brought more than $13 million into Baltimore’s lowest-income neighborhoods for culturally sensitive economic development.
I have worked with residents to develop at least three major community development strategies that should help us to raise hundreds of millions more.
By listening to residents in District 40 and working together with its legislative delegation, we can far exceed even this record of collective achievement.
During the shutdown, I was sitting in my family room one morning and the weight of knowing that it would take 10 years to get done our total commercial investment of $30 million just hit me. If it takes 10 years to invest only $30 million, we will wait literally 100 years before we have enough investments to uplift people and change the narrative on Baltimore.
But it should not take 10 years to invest $30 million in our hardest hit communities. It should take two.
Like you, I know that life is short. We do not need to wait. We cannot wait because public safety without immediate, community-based economic development will continue to revert to more violence. And poverty itself is a form of violence.
Please make no mistake—I’m not just a leader or just about ideas.
My record shows that I am a collaborator who works with others to deliver striking results. And results—not patronage or entitlement or board memberships—but incredible results are our shared urgency for Baltimore.
I am running because I believe that ordinary people today should have extraordinary chances to live their dreams today. And at every level, a mighty city deserves mighty leadership to match.
With my empathy, my impatience and my skills and experience, I believe I am the best all-around candidate to bring us the wins Maryland needs to showcase the glory of Baltimore’s people and its places.
How do I sign up?